All About Eve

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Trading on the vanity and insecurity of ageing actress Margo Channing, Eve Harrington becomes her indispensable confidante in an attempt to launch her own bid for Broadway immortality


All four female stars in this 1950 adaptation of Mary Orr’s short story were cited for Academy Awards, but it was writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz who landed a brace of Oscars for the showbiz bitchfest, with a flashback format resembling the one his brother Herman had devised for Citizen Kane nine years earlier.

The stinging bon mots occasionally sound handcrafted rather than raspingly spontaneous, but aspiring actress Anne Baxter’s rise to the top over the corpse of her supposed idol, Bette Davis, remains rousing and endlessly amusing. And the merciless demythologising of the tawdry trappings of fame is acutely relevant in these days of transient celebrity.

Forget Foreman vs. Ali, this is Baxter vs. Davis in one of Hollywood's greatest showdowns.